Definitive Demise of “Intelligent Design”?

I don’t know if anyone is still following the Uncommon Descent blog, currently owned by lawyer Barry Arrington. It is supposed to be a blog dedicated to “Intelligent Design” – the idea that evolutionary theories are unable to account for the diversity of life on Earth. However, interest in ID has been on the wane since its peak around December 2005 (the run-up to the decision on whether ID is genuinely scientific).

Capture

 

Hat-tip – Rich Hughes

But there is still material to be enjoyed and savoured. Mr. Arrington does not lack confidence in his ability to be certain about things. He authors this OP, posting a “randomly” generated string of characters and a piece of text and concludes:

For what possible reason would a materialist deny knowing what he plainly must know – that we can know the second string is not a group of random letters because it is highly complex and also conforms to a specification?

 

Unfortunately for Barry, his OP was noticed by Jeffrey Shallit (half of Elsberry and Shallitt, bane of Bill Dembski {see this paper – PDF}) and who then wrote a post on his blog, Recursivity. Barry responds with this post and conveniently summarises thus:

Shallit made some trivial points. On the substance of the matter – whether design can be detected – he actually undermined his own position. Stunning.

Professor Shallit then takes the gloves off! Here!  Barry should write this down!

Barry, and all ID advocates, need to understand one basic point. It’s one that Wesley Elsberry and I have been harping about for years. Here it is: the opposite of “random” is not “designed”.

 

 

 

69 thoughts on “Definitive Demise of “Intelligent Design”?

  1. Alan,

    This has to do with climate change rather than ID, but the Vatican seems to have learned something from science. They’re calling this period in history “The Anthropocene.”

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2011/05/anthropocene-vatican-climate-change-group-coins-name-for-our-era/

    This sort of thing seems to happen slowly. It may take, as Kuhn noted, as long as a generation for a new paradigm to take hold.

    A friend of mine when trying to persuade folks that we’re doing it (changing the climate) often hears something like “The idea that we can destroy the ecosystem is an offense against God’s power.”
    My answer to this (my short answer) is “Not if it’s one of the things God has entrusted to our care.”

  2. GlenDavidson: I think we’ve learned quite a lot about bad thinking from the IDists.

    Since the same bad thinking is repeated sans end by them, I suspect that they’ve learned almost nothing from us.

    Insofar as most of the regulars at Uncommon Descent don’t seem to understand the difference between an argument and an explanation, and don’t seem to understand that inferences to the best explanation must be confirmed by further data — they can’t be “mere” abductive leaps — I’d agree. I abandoned UD when I realized that I was bored of making the same criticisms over and over.

  3. The reason why “interest overtime” has diminished, is because nobody cares about the debate anymore.
    My personal interest has diminished over the last 2 years because the debate:
    1) takes too much of my time throughout the day
    2) it’s too repetitive (whether it’s stated in one form or another)
    3) it’s now obvious that ID has many legitimate points that have not been addressed successfully throughout many years of debate
    4) there is obvious flaws in the Darwinian theory that have been exposed by the ID community, the ID community have done an excellent job unraveling the rats nest that Darwinists have been forming the last 150 years. Everyone now understands at the most basic atomic level what is and isn’t important.
    Even many Darwinists now realize that ID is a legitimate scientific hypothesis that has confirmed several predictions over the years.
    When a Darwinist confirms that DNA is information, they’re confirming ID.
    When a Darwinist any has doubt about their theory producing a complex system, they’re confirming ID.
    Even if ID were to die tomorrow, nobody would really believe that horse**** of a theory that Darwinists have been spewing for over 150 years. The “damage” has been done, and this time without reference to the bible.
    Not only that, we’re noticing an all around change, the information centric point of view, which means physics branch is no longer at the top of the pyramid. Information runs the universe, therefore information has dominion over physics.

  4. foxtraitor,

    Welcome to TSZ.

    You write:

    3) it’s now obvious that ID has many legitimate points that have not been addressed successfully throughout many years of debate

    You’ve come to the right place. If you’d care to list some of those “legitimate points”, I’m sure commenters here would be happy to address them.

  5. Alan Fox: I don’t know if anyone is still following the Uncommon Descent blog, currently owned by lawyer Barry Arrington.

    Why don’t you know? Is the matter beyond empirical investigation? I’ll try to help you figure it out, if you want.

    cheers

  6. Barry, and all ID advocates, need to understand one basic point. It’s one that Wesley Elsberry and I have been harping about for years. Here it is: the opposite of “random” is not “designed”.

    The opposite of random is not random. Do I advance to the next level?

  7. Mung: The opposite of random is not random. Do I advance to the next level?

    I’d secure your lifeboat now, Mung. 😉

  8. Mung: Alan Fox: I don’t know if anyone is still following the Uncommon Descent blog, currently owned by lawyer Barry Arrington.

    Why don’t you know? Is the matter beyond empirical investigation? I’ll try to help you figure it out, if you want.

    I took Alan’s “anyone” to mean “any of the regular TSZ participants (i.e. the people reading his post). I took that to be implied by context. And I took his statement to be rhetorical, rather than as an indication of ignorance.

  9. Mung,

    Yes!:

    “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.” – Douglas Adams.

  10. *sigh* Nice try Neil. But fail, none the less.

    Alan tosses out a HT to Rich Hughes. Why?

    Then Alan admits to following UD.

    Unless Richard and/or Alan are not regulars here at TSZ, your attempted reconstruction is just not believable.

    I took Alan’s “anyone” to mean “any of the regular TSZ participants (i.e. the people reading his post). I took that to be implied by context.

    What about the regular TSZ participant (Alan Fox) POSTING the post? Not implied by the CONTEXT? Really?

    And I took his statement to be rhetorical, rather than as an indication of ignorance.

    So the rhetorical point is that UD is irrelevant, and this is demonstrated to be true by the fact that Alan posts a response to material posted at UD? How so?

    Not. Believable.

  11. I don’t think its correct to approach “I don’t know if anyone is following..” is deconstructive pedantry. What constitutes following? what are the units?

    Don’t be boring like Barry, Mung. You have within you the capacity for a little more flourish. You could be a DaveScot light with a little more application! 😀

  12. Mung: *sigh* Nice try Neil. But fail, none the less.

    Neil is quite correct. I might introduce a topic in a conversation by saying “I don’t know if you saw X on TV last night,”

    Alan tosses out a HT to Rich Hughes. Why?

    Because I saw Rich had used the Google trends chart elsewhere and acknowledged the source.

    Then Alan admits to following UD

    I confess my lingering addiction..

    Unless Richard and/or Alan are not regulars here at TSZ, your attempted reconstruction is just not believable.

    [quotes Neil]I took Alan’s “anyone” to mean “any of the regular TSZ participants (i.e. the people reading his post). I took that to be implied by context.

    What about the regular TSZ participant (Alan Fox) POSTING the post? Not implied by the CONTEXT? Really?

    [quotes Neil]And I took his statement to be rhetorical, rather than as an indication of ignorance.

    So the rhetorical point is that UD is irrelevant, and this is demonstrated to be true by the fact that Alan posts a response to material posted at UD? How so?

    Not. Believable.

    You’ve lost me!

  13. “Don’t be boring like Barry, Mung. You have within you the capacity for a little more flourish. You could be a DaveScot light with a little more application!”

    Made me laugh. But I can’t BAN anyone. I NEED POWER!

  14. I’m getting some good Schadenfreude out of watching Mark Frank criticize Barry Arrington. The TKO is here. Arrington is now committed to explicitly arguing against Dembski as to whether information theory is relevant to the “science” of intelligent design.

    This is the PR savvy of the ID movement: when critics say, “ID isn’t science, it’s philosophy or theology”, the defenders say, “no, it’s a science — look, we can detect design, and we can make abductive inferences! If intelligent design isn’t a science, then forensics and archeology aren’t sciences!” And then when someone says, “ok, if ID is a science, then here’s what information theory says . . . “, the defenders say, “no, we’re using the dictionary definitions and common sense! We don’t need your technical mumbo-jumbo!”

    In other words, ID is all about having one’s cake and eating it, too. The appearance of science without having to do any hard work to earn it. Pseudo-science, pure and simple.

  15. I have just been banned from UD a few days ago. A very honest way of debating, there.

    I would just point out that evolution is not random. Saying that randomness cannot produce complex arrangements as we see in living organisms is correct. The error is thinking that this rules out evolution. You would be forgetting natural selection.

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